Mogadishu (/ˌmɔːɡəˈdiːʃuː/;Somali: Muqdisho; Arabic: مقديشو Maqadīshū), known locally as Xamar (English: Hamar), is the largest and capital city of Somalia. Located in the coastal Banaadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries. As of 2015, it has a population of 2,120,000 residents.
Tradition and old records assert that southern Somalia, including the Mogadishu area, was historically inhabited by hunter-gatherers. These were later joined by Cushitic agro-pastoralists, who would go on to establish local aristocracies. During its medieval Golden Age, Mogadishu was ruled by the Muzaffar dynasty, a vassal of the Ajuran Sultanate. It subsequently fell under the control of an assortment of local Sultanates and polities, most notably the Geledi Sultanate. The city later became the capital of Italian Somaliland (1889-1936) in the colonial period. After the Somali Republic became independent in 1960, Mogadishu became known and promoted as the White Pearl of the Indian Ocean. After the ousting of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 and the ensuing civil war, various militias fought for control of the city, later to be replaced by the Islamic Courts Union in the mid-2000s. The ICU thereafter splintered into more radical groups, notably Al-Shabaab, which fought the Transitional Federal Government (2004-2012) and its AMISOM allies. With a change in administration in late 2010, government troops and their military partners had succeeded in forcing out Al-Shabaab by August 2011. Mogadishu has subsequently experienced a period of intense reconstruction.
Mogadishu, or Mogadiscio, was the capital of Italian Somalia in the first half of the 20th century. In Italian language, the city was called Mogadiscio italiana and the inhabitants were called Mogadiscini. Italian Mogadiscio was under Italian control from 1885 until February 1941: officially it disappeared in 1947 after the "Peace Treaty" following WWII when Italy lost all the colonies.
The first Italian to write about Mogadiscio was Marco Polo, who knew of the city during his merchant travels in Asia. But the Italians showed up in Mogadishu's history only in the late 19th century, when the commerce company "Filonardi" from Italy took control of facilities in the port of Mogadishu.
By 1882, Mogadishu was under the joint control of the Somali Geledi Sultanate (which was also holding sway over the Shebelle Valley region in the interior called Benadir) and the Omani Sultan of Zanzibar. In 1885, Ali bin Said leased the city to an Italian chartered company owned by Vincenzo Filonardi. This "Compagnia Filonardi" (1893–96) -and later the "Società Anonima Commerciale Italiana del Benadir" (1899-1905)- was finally taken by the Italian government, that obtained the control of the entire region of Benadir with the port of Mogadishu through an agreement with the British government in 1892. From 3 August 1889 to 15 May 1893 Filonardi was the first Governor of the "Somalia italiana" (he was governor again from 1896 to 1897).
Mogadishu may refer to: